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Russian Prime Minister Proposes Raising Retirement Age

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (file photo)
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (file photo)

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has proposed a plan to gradually increase the retirement age for men and women.

Speaking at a government meeting on June 14, Medvedev said that according to a draft plan, the transition period for the process will be "fairly lengthy."

"We propose a relatively long transition period -- beginning in 2019 we propose incremental increases to reach retirement for men at 65 by 2028 and 63 for women in 2034," Medvedev said.

According to Medvedev, the gradual increase of retirement age will "help us to use additional funding to tackle inflation and raise pensions."

The current retirement age in Russia is 60 for men and 55 for women -- the lowest figures in the developed world. Russia also lags in life expectancy, which is currently 68 for men.

By 2034, when the pension-age increase could be fully imposed, government forecasts put life expectancy at 70 for men and 80 for women.

Demographic forecasters in Russia have said that by 2036, the number of retirees in Russia will be twice as high as the number of people in the workforce.

The appointment of former Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin to the post of the chairman of the Audit Chamber last month indicated that the pension reform is finally happening.

Known for his conservative budgeting and heralded for the creation of rainy-day slush funds to cushion fiscal problems, Kudrin has long championed an increase in the retirement age.

He wrote on Twitter after Medvedev announced the plan that the move was right.

"The pension reforms' necessity has been obvious for a long time. At last, the decision is made. That decision is very profitable for citizens, it will allow to increase pensions," Kudrin wrote.

In the 15 years following the 1991 Soviet Union collapse, Russia's population dropped by roughly 5 million people and although the demography has stabilized at just over 140 million and even ticked upward slightly in recent years, the overall trend remains downward.

That means a smaller workforce and less money coming into the pension system. It also reflects the aging population, where there are more retired people receiving state pensions than there are younger people whose salaries help replenish the pension coffers.

Kommersant newspaper wrote in October that the Russian Pension Fund -- the formal name of the system -- can currently only pay 60 percent of its obligations to current pensioners. The shortfall is increasingly covered from the regular government budget.

With reporting by Interfax and TASS
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